Thursday, November 18, 2021

NRC Increases Oversight at Vogtle Unit 3

NRC Increases Oversight at Vogtle Unit 3

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will increase oversight at one of the Vogtle nuclear power plants under construction in Waynesboro, Georgia, after finalizing two inspection findings involving the safety-related electrical raceway system at Unit 3. Southern Nuclear Operating Company operates the site.

The NRC launched a special inspection in June 2021 to understand the cause and extent of construction quality issues in the electrical raceway system, consisting primarily of conduits and cable trays designed to prevent a single event from disabling redundant safety-related equipment.

The finalized inspection findings include two violations of federal regulations. NRC inspectors found that Southern Nuclear did not properly implement its corrective action program, resulting in construction quality issues, extensive rework, and a report to the NRC for a significant quality assurance breakdown. They also found that the company did not follow design specifications while installing safety-related cables for reactor coolant pumps and equipment designed to shut down the reactor safely.

In a written response to the initial report, Southern Nuclear proposed the NRC combine the two violations since both involve failing to adhere to engineering standards for electrical equipment and systems vital to emergency reactor shutdown. After considering the additional written information from the company and the inspection results, the NRC determined that the two findings would remain separate.

The NRC characterizes these findings as a low-to-moderate safety significance and will schedule a supplemental inspection to verify Southern Nuclear understands the root cause and has taken appropriate corrective actions.

There is no increased risk to the public as Southern Nuclear corrects the conditions as there is no nuclear fuel in the reactor. The NRC will not authorize the company to load fuel and operate Vogtle Unit 3 until it has met the standards in the combined license.


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